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Teacher's Perspective on ELL

Beliefs/attitudes, struggles and solutions for teachers of English Language Learners
by

Michelle Armstrong

on 3 February 2013

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Transcript of Teacher's Perspective on ELL

Teacher's Perspective for ELL What is an ELL? ELL stands for English Language learner, also known as ESL which means English as a Second Language. These are individuals for whom English is not their primary language. ELL teachers work with ELL's to help them acquire fluency in English, both spoken and written. These teachers normally have special training in the field. Teachers in kindergarten through 12th grade often hold credentials in methods of teaching second language learners. While teachers at the community college level may have master's degrees. ELL's do not necessarily share a common language.
A teacher could be teaching adults or kids who speak a variety of languages, although various Asian languages and Spanish are most common. Therefore, the one resource ELL teachers usually do not have is the ability to stop and explain things in a language common to all students. Therefore, explanations must be made using a variety of techniques: basic English, demonstration, pictures, objects, gestures and repetition in order for the learner to comprehend both oral and written English. What is an ELL teacher? Common Challenges for ELL Teachers working Abroad. If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.
-Nelson Mandela Myth 1:
Children learn second languages quickly and easily. Myth 3:
The younger the child, the more skilled in acquiring an L2 Myth 2:
The more time students spend in a second language context, the quicker they learn the language. Myth 4:
All children learn in the same way. Misconceptions, Classroom Climate and Bias It is commonly assumed that children learn a second language quicker and more easily than adults. Research simply does not support this idea.
When placed in controlled situations adults generally perform as well or better than children. For example, children generally use more simplistic vocabulary and sentence structures than adults making it appear easier.
Younger children have a difficult time learning a second language because they do not have access to memory techniques and other strategies commonly used.
Teachers also need to remember that children are often very shy and easily embarrassed about their inability to speak fluently. Research does not support the assertion that exposure to a second language earlier results in high success attaining it. In fact, in several studies students who began instruction in junior high school performed as well or out performed children who began study in 1st grade.
Pronunciation is the one area where younger children may have the edge regarding second language acquisition.
Younger children living in a foreign country need to learn the country's native language as quickly as possible. Therefore, they will not fall behind in content areas.
Exposure itself does not predict language understanding. Spending most of the time in English language ESL and content classes does not predict better language acquisition.
Children who spent their time in bilingual classes utilizing both English and their native language scored equally as well as their English-only classmate.
It can take up to 4 to 6 years to achieve proficiency understanding the language in its academic uses.
Beneficial for ELL to maintain support in their first language. This helps both socially and academically. The way we use English culturally can be different than how ELL use their home language. This can cause frustration!
Many children growing up in urban, literate and technologically advanced societies teach their children through language. This is also true of middle class families. Conversely, children who come from more rural cultures, often carry out their teaching non verbally through observation and repetition.
Some children are more likely to learn from peers than adults, making it difficult to learn from teachers.
Instruction must be differentiated to meet the needs of children from other cultures. Myth 5:
Teachers have a lower expectation for ELL students. Teachers should have high expectations for all students.
Teachers will take the current knowledge that the child possesses and builds off those blocks.
Activities will be introduced to create a learning environment and active learning.
Special trained staff can modify current lesson plans to meet the students' needs. Struggle #1:
Low Salaries Struggle #2:
Low Teacher Morale Struggle #3:
Poor Leadership Struggle #4:
Unmotivated Students Low Salaries are among the most common complaints from ELL teachers abroad. Often these teachers must supplement their meager incomes by tutoring, having a second job outside the teaching profession, or looking for work teaching on the internet. Often times the excitement that initially comes with moving abroad and teaching English can diminish. These bad attitudes can spread to others, making teaching more challenging.
Teachers wishing to maintain a positive attitude should steer clear of these "bad apples" and focus on the positive aspects of their job. Leadership, or management, at these English programs and schools often make decisions with economics in mind rather what is best for the students. Students are often allowed to register for courses beyond their ability level. It is the teachers who have to deal with the consequences of these bad decisions.

Another common complaint involves the unpredictable scheduling of classes and split shifts, where a teacher might have one class in the morning with her second late in the evening. Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to avoid these issues. Even when teachers provide engaging and stimulating activities, some students may still be unmotivated to perform at the expected level.
Reinforcing positive behavior has been shown to improve student performance. According to colorincolorado.org Webcast titled "ELL in Middle and High School", Dr. Debrah Short stated supportive statements. For example:
1.5 million ELL's in middle and high school in the US, teachers need to understand how to teach reading. Most are not given professional development on how to teach reading.
Vocabulary development is critical especially with multiple meaning words.
We need to unpack the reading and writing process - how do we read to learn and how do we communicate with writing
Teach learning strategies explicitly. Connecting Content
with ELL In Conclusion Links to our favorite lesson plans for ELL teachers http://ellp.ccsd.net/programs/index.html

http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/files/uploads/5/LIEPs0406BR.pdf

STEM and ELs: A Collaborative Effort by Paula Hooper, Ph.D
http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/webinars/event/29/

http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/content/40_numbers09_10

Benefits of Linguistics for ELL teachers
http://iteslj.org/links/TESL/Linguistics/

Fun and engaging reading lesson plans
http://iteslj.org/Lessons/Akgun-ReadingComp.html

Community Places Lesson Plans
http://www.elcivics.com/lifeskills/community-places-1.html

Assessment for ELL
http://www.colorincolorado.org/webcasts/assessment/ Great Resources! The following websites serve as clearinghouses for ELL teachers and students. While our focus is primarily on teacher resources, sometimes teachers need to be able to provide their students and families with high quality information. These websites offer resources that meet both teacher’s personal needs as well as the needs of the students he or she teaches.

“Selected Links for ESL & EFL Students”
http://iteslj.org/ESL.html
The purpose of this page is to introduce students to a select list of links that they will find immediately interesting and useful.

“TESL/TEFL/TESOL/ESL/EFL/ESOL LINKS
http://iteslj.org/links/
This website houses an extensive collection of resources for both English language learning students and teachers. Over 10,000 links are provided! Teachers can find anything from articles about grammar and pronunciation to handouts for use in the class. There are even links to ELL humor. While not every link was checked, every one tried worked.

“ Great Resources Continued... “Colorin Colorado!
http://www.colorincolorado.org/educators/
This link found within the Colorin Colorado! website under the heading of “For Educators” has a plethora of active links for teachers. These high quality links provide information ranging from ELL resources by grade to integrating technology into the ELL classroom. Many additional links are provided to assist the ELL teacher best meet the needs of his or her students.

The Education Alliance: Teaching Diverse Learners, Teaching & Learning Strategies
http://www.alliance.brown.edu/tdl/tl-strategies/index.shtml
This website provides links to resources for teachers of specific types of ELL instruction including Culturally Responsive Teaching, Sheltered English Instruction, and Language Support for Students in the Home and in School. With “teacher resources” and “current research” links, teachers will be able to find exactly what they’re looking for. Last but not least of our Great Resources! NCELA National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition
http://www.ncela.gwu.edu
Everything a teacher could want to know about ELL is housed in this website. Extensive does not begin to cover the depth of resources available! In addition to an online journal, “AccELLerate!” and a resource library, this website also has an impressive collection of webinars available for viewing. Connecting Content and English Language Learners

ELLs pose a challenge for classroom teachers and ESL specialists when it comes to instruction across the content areas. In addition to learning English, these students are also expected to learn all the traditional subjects in English. Fortunately, there are many resources for teachers to help them assist their ELLs. Let’s take a look at two of the most important content areas for ELLs. Vocabulary building http://www.cal.org/projects/vias.html

Much research is being conducted on the subject of vocabulary acquisition and ELLs. The Vocabulary Instruction and Assessment for Spanish Speakers (VIAS) project is currently researching how ELLs develop literacy and literacy related skills, how the transfer of these skills from the native language to the learned language occurs, and developing and evaluating methods to enhance vocabulary development. This information will help ESL and classroom teachers better understand how to serve their ELL population and foster vocabulary and literacy development.

The El Civics for ESL Students website provides a lengthy list of vocabulary mini-lessons available for use in classrooms. Most useful for older ELL students, these lessons feature simplistic text and photographs to help the learner understand text. A link is provided for a sample lesson.
http://www.elcivics.com/lifeskills/family/esl-lesson-1 Literacy Education for ELLs http://www.cal.org/projects/archive/adolescentell.html

Often times, adolescent ELLs find themselves doing twice the work of their peers. In addition to learning English, these students are also studying core content areas like history and science in English, forcing them to do double the work. Teachers must be conscience of this fact when working with ELLs.

For more information regarding how to most effectively teach ELLs subject content visit Colorin Colorado!’s page on Content Instruction for ELLs.
http://www.colorincolorado.org/educators/content/ In order to help us understand the perspective of ELL teachers more fully, we have evaluated ten websites specifically addressing common experiences, struggles, and solutions that ELL teachers face on a daily basis.

http://www.cal.org/
http://www.colorincolorado.org/
http://www.alliance.brown.edu/tdl/tlstrategies/index.shtml
http://www.tesol.org/
http://www.nabe.org/
http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/
http://www.tolerance.org/
http://iteslj.org/ESL.html
http://www.elcivics.com/lifeskills/family/esl-lesson-1
http://iteslj.org/links/ Sheltered English or SIOP
An instructional approach that develops grade level content are knowledge, academic skills and increased English proficiency Models of Teaching English Language Learners Dual Language
A bilingual model in which students are taught and expected to gain proficiency in both languages. The class is a mix of native English speakers and native speakers of another language.Research has shown that students who are taught in this manner do better on standardized tests than native English speakers taught in a monolingual classroom (Dual Language Education: A Promising 50–50 Model Leo Gómez, David Freeman, and Yvonne Freeman The University of Texas Pan American Bilingual Research Journal, 29: 1 Spring 2005)There are 2 models of dual language• In the 90/10 model, the program starts in kindergarten with a curriculum that is 90% in English and 10% in a second language. There is a gradual increase of the second language until it reaches 50% at the upper elementary level.The 50/50 model starts in kindergarten and continues throughout the elementary level with each language receiving an equal number of the instructional time. Transitional Bilingual Education
Students are taught in both English and Spanish gradually tapering off to English only when proficiency is reached ESL-English as a Second Language
This method usually involves an ESL teacher to push into a classroom or pull out from a classroom and instruct second language learners in social and academic language. Students start with “survival” English (called BICS which stands for Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills) and as proficiency increases, move onto academic language or CALP (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency) Relevant Websites
www.cal.org - has descriptions and print resources even professional development opportunities
http://www.colorincolorado.org/ webcasts, resources, links, and reseach too
http://www.alliance.brown.edu/tdl/tl-strategies/index.shtml great intro into sheltered English- even a nice breakdown of the components of a SIOP lesson
http://www.nabe.org/ could be good for bilingual, but need to be a member to access most of the content Information retrieved from: http://www.ed.gov.nl.ca/edu/k12/curriculum/guides/esl/myths_reality.pdf Please play me! Some of the previous websites offer in depth explanations of what ESL and ELL entail. They provide extensive information and statistics that help identify the numerous ELL populations. These sites enable the reader to more fully understand both the experiences of the ESL teacher and the ELL student.  

Other sites offer a view into the common struggles of the ESL teacher.  Their’s is a unique population whose needs are as varied as the languages they speak.  Many of the websites offer practical solutions that teachers can use immediately in their classrooms and share with general education teachers. 

Finally, the last of the websites serve as clearinghouses for ELL teacher resources and information. Many of the links provided offer the reader a plethora of lesson plans, activities and discussion topics ready for use in classrooms. At the end of this presentation we have listed the best we found. Please read on to learn more about the great information contained within these websites. This presentation was created to provide teachers of English language learners (ELLs) with new information and quality resources. Included you will find: 1. Introduction
2. What is ELL?
3. Models of Teaching ELLs
4. Misconceptions, Classroom Climate and Bias
5. Common Challenges for ELL Teachers Working Abroad
6. Connecting Content with ELL
7. Links to Best Lesson Plans from the 10 Websites
8. Great Resources
9. Conclusion Introduction Please play me! As we look at creating a classroom community for English language learners, teachers must be an active partner in designing, supporting, and encouraging students to learn. The instructor’s purpose is to enable students, whose first language is not English, to develop the academic English skills they need to understand and fully participate in their school curriculum and community. The main goal is to prepare students to academically function with their English speaking peers in all educational content areas. When teachers connect with students to discuss their goals and plans regarding learning English, they create a classroom community of learners who quickly begin to transfer knowledge and concepts to their second language. Moreover, when teachers actively engage with children in a way that supports English language learning, students of any age tend to make excellent strives in language. More importantly, children begin to feel connected to their teacher, peers and all of the learning experiences in the classroom. Retrieved from: http://www.cal.org/resources/digest/myths.html
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